13th June, 2013
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday fixed 21 June to hear the suit instituted by Mustapha Fawez, Abdallah Tahini and Tala Ahmed Roda, Lebanese owners of Amigo Supermarket who are suspected to have imported arms into the country for terrorist activities.
The suspected arms importers sued the Director General of State Security Service, SSS, the Inspector-General of Police and the Attorney-General of the Federation for closing Amigo Supermarket and Abuja Wonderland Amusement Park, the businesses they own and operate in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.
The court had earlier directed the defendants to produce the suspected terrorists before the court for the purpose of hearing of their case.
The presiding Judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola had made the order for the suspected terrorists to be brought before the court following an ex-parte application by counsel to the suspects, Chief Robert Clarke, Ahmed Raja, both senior advocates with 12 others lawyers.
They are also challenging their arrest and continued detention at the facilities of the SSS.
The suspected terrorists are asking the court to make an order granting them bail conditionally or unconditionally, pending the determination of the substantive motion on notice in this matter.
They also want an interim order restraining the respondents from continuing to arrest,
detain, harass and intimidate them, their families, relations and/ or business interests pending the determination of the substantive motion on notice in this matter.
The Lebanese are suspected to be members of an international terrorist group, Hezbollah.
The State Security Services however implored the court not to grant the requests of the Lebanese as releasing them will threaten national security.
In a counter affidavit filed against the suit, the SSS stated that it had further established a much more serious terrorism offences allegedly perpetrated by the Lebanese.
It further stated that the investigation of the imported arms had assumed international dimension that required time and advanced expertise to conclude.
Furthermore, the security agency stated that some of the suspects were still at large and a premature release of the applicants was capable of compromising the investigation.
It also informed the court that a preliminary case file had been opened against the Lebanese and forwarded to the Attorney General of the Federation for legal advice and that to grant their application will not be in the interest of national security as the activities of the Lebanese constitute a threat to national security.
The SSS also stated that following the arrest of Fawaz, that his residence at Wonderland Amusement Park and at No. 58 Ademola Street in Abuja were dully searched and that prohibited firearms and other incriminating items were discovered.
Indicating that further investigation of the matter is ongoing, the SSS noted that the arrest of Abdallah on 12 May at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport Kano on his way to Egypt en route Lebanon was what triggered the arrest of the other Lebanese.
Abdallah was in possession of $61,170 when he was arrested.